A/N: hello all! Thanks to everyone who reviewed, much appreciated, all the comments were really useful. This one I wrote in school, during a creative writing class, when we were given a DVD, a figurine and some headphones or something for inspiration.
The Big Screen
There's something almost humiliating about hiring videos. It's like holding up a huge neon sign, showing the world what you're interested in, or what you'll be doing on the weekend. And if you're me, and borrow several videos every Friday night, you can see how pathetic that is.
I tend to slink into the video store and glance furtively around before venturing further inside to make my selections. The staff are always behind a counter at the front of the store, and it freaks me out that they can always see what section you're in.
I mean, I'd like for people to think that I think about more than just chick flicks and blockbusters. Which is why every Friday, before I make my choices, I wander over to the documentary section, or the Art films, and spend fifteen minutes or so pretending to peruse the shelves. Sometimes I even borrow one, even though I never watch it and always end up watching 'Dirty Dancing' twice instead.
The counter in the store is high, and made of pale blue plastic. There's a TV screen behind it playing previews for upcoming movies. I never look the staff assistant in the eye while I borrow my movies. I just slide them with the exact amount of money along the counter and wait until they're pushed back before grabbing them and leaving. They know me well enough now that they never even ask what name my accounts under. It's usually a blonde, rail-thin girl who serves me. I keep my head down the whole time and only ever mutter 'thanks' as I walk out.
It's like I have a whole ritual now at the video store, and I take all measures to avoid looking like the biggest loser on the planet.
Which is why, I think it was completely natural of me to react the way I did that Friday night.
I walked in as usual, on my way home from the bus interchange. The shop was practically empty, which wasn't unusual for that time of the afternoon. Video shops apparently get busier at nighttime.
I ducked quickly through the door and made a beeline for the historical remakes section, where I spent the next two minutes or so, before wandering over to the chick-flicks section.
It took me a grand total of about 30 seconds to grab 'She's All That', 'Mean Girls', and 'Never Been Kissed', and walk over to the counter.
I slid the videos onto the blue plastic and dig six dollars out of my wallet. Then I waited, staring down at my shoes, for the movies to be pushed back. Only-
"And what account was that under?" a friendly, but distinctly male voice asked.
My eyes snapped up before I could help it, and suddenly I was looking at him.
He was tall and lean, his blue shirt obviously loose on his frame, and the sleeves rolled up to reveal tanned forearms. His eyes were brown and crinkled at the corners. He must have smiled a lot. But the best thing about him, as far as I could see in that instant, was his hair. Scruffy, brown and yet soft-looking and falling delicately into his eyes. I immediately yearned t run my fingers through it, and the thought made me blush.
I felt stupid, and in that moment, I perceived what I must have looked like to him: a short, red-haired, beanie wearing loser, who borrowed movie don a Friday night because she had no friends to be with. That, and I had barely even attempted to conceal my lame taste in movies.
"Uh, Meredith Pike," I mumbled in answer to his question, casting my eyes down to avoid his pitying smile.
"Sure, Meredith," he chirped, typing quickly and entering the movie files into my account.
"Here they are," he said, pushing the DVDs across the counter towards me. "Due in next Friday, thanks."
I grabbed the movies and turned to scurry out the door.
"You know, that's one of my favorite movies," his voice stopped me. " 'Never Been Kissed', I mean. The bit where she gets discovered is so heartbreaking."
I stare at him, dumfounded. I wasn't sure if he was talking to me or not.
"Um…yeah. Sorry," he muttered, after we had stared at each other for a moment. "I'm just kind of bored, you know? It's quiet. I'm babbling…and stating the obvious." He grinned sheepishly, and ran a hand through his hair.
I paused for a moment, and then smiled.
Here was this guy who I had never seen before, trying to reach out to me when not even my parents started a conversation with me anymore. What did I have to lose?
"I like the bit where they're sitting outside at school, and she realizes that she's become one of the popular people," I said, my voice coming out small and barely audible.
But his eyes lit up, and he nodded emphatically.
"Me too! Because that guy likes her, and she's all 'is it possible for a popular guy to like me?' and I was like, yes. You're Drew Barrymore. Everyone loves you!"
I laughed, the first time in a while, and I saw his eyes soften at the sight. I guess I always appear so severe and serious. It must have seemed strange to see me smile, even after only knowing me for five minutes.
He approached my side of the counter and leaned against it, resting his chin on one hand.
"So, what school do you go to? I'm assuming you're in high school?" he asked, still smiling.
"Year 10, I admitted. "I go to Canberra High."
"Dude, I used to go there! My parents transferred me to private school though, as soon as they got a chance. They're kind of snobby," he said conversationally. "I'm in year 11 now."
I nodded, unsure of how to proceed.
"So, you like chick flicks, huh? Me too," he said, without waiting for an answer. "My friends all think I'm a bit of a fag fore it, but I hear it gets all the girls."
"I guess it helps that there are usually really hot actresses in chick flicks," I mumbled.
"Yeah, that does help."
Just then, the door opened behind me, and a few old women wandered in, talking loudly to each other. I smiled at the guy and turned to leave, clutching my movies to my chest.
"Luke." I spun around.
"I'm Luke, by the way," he said, winking.
I grinned as I walked outside.
It still confuses me now that he started talking to me in the first place. Normal people don't start conversations with random customers at their part time jobs for fun. But the more I think about it, the more I remember the way he oozed confidence, and had that easy manner. He was probably a guy with a lot of friends, unafraid of rejection and comfortable with anyone.
The opposite of me.
I guess you're wondering if I ever saw Luke again. I guess you're expecting that I spoke to him every Friday from then on, until our love blossomed and resulted in us kissing passionately and vowing to stay together forever.
Well, to be honest, I never really saw him again. The next Friday, the blond girl was back, and I went through me routine as usual.
Except for one thing. When I approached the counter, the girl held up a DVD with a yellow post-it note stuck on it. It read 'Meredith Pike' on it and nothing else.
"You're Meredith, right?" she asked in a bored tone of voice.
"Some casual staff guy left this here for you. He said to tell you his favourite bit is with Colin Firth and the foreign chick when they jump into the lake together. That'll be eight dollars for all of them," she said.
I pushed the money across the counter and took the movie form her, confused.
It was 'Love Actually'.
I smiled. Colin Firth and the foreign chick were my favourites too.
A/N: hmm, so let me know if you like it…